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Best official portrait in history. Ever.

This is the best official portrait in history. Ever.

NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin. Pure distilled essence of dude.

25 comments to Best official portrait in history. Ever.

  • Watchman

    But surely he could replace the dogs with hippos (baby ones, to keep the subject of the photo at a reasonable scale)?

  • Indeed Watchman, but until that happens, this will be the greatest ever. That said… perhaps I should commission a series of Official Samizdatista Portraits 😆

  • NickM

    This is not as OT as it might seem…

    In what way did Buzz Adrin wear lady’s under garments?

  • NickM – I have heard (and this is the internet) that William Shatner was advised to wear pantyhose while riding horses in some movie. They served as a buffer layer between skin and outer clothing, to prevent chafing. Perhaps spacesuits are equally chafe-prone? That’s my guess.

  • llamas

    I hope to grow up to be the man my dogs think I am.



  • bobby b

    The DEA dogs found his scopolamine patch.

    (Oh, and . . . Playtex?)

  • NickM

    Nope. It is a bit more obtuse than that.

  • Eric Tavenner

    Fighter pilots frequently wore corsets to reduce the tendency to blackout during high-G maneuvers.

  • NickM


    bobby b was on the right track.

  • bobby b

    The right track? This is one of those “show your work” quizzes?

    A small group of Playtex workers got together and entered the bidding to make the spacesuits for that era of astronauts. Using technology and materials developed in the manufacture of ladies’ foundational garments, they beat out several large high-tech companies and made a suit that was light-years better than what their big-company, high-buck competition came up with.

    (I’m cheating by using personal knowledge. As a result of their efforts in breaking into a closed-shop defense/federal procurement system, the DARS/FAR regs (Defense Acquisition Regulation System/Federal Acquisition Regulations), which had been in the drafting stage, were altered a bit to make such nontraditional off-the-cuff contract arrangements possible under the new highly-structured system. Knowing this kind of stuff always makes me a hit at parties.)

  • Rob

    (Puts on aluminium foil hat)

    How do you know this photo wasn’t faked?

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…Regulations…which had been in the drafting stage, were altered a bit to make such nontraditional off-the-cuff contract arrangements possible…”

    Well that’s good. Three cheers for the USA.

    In the EU, the draft regulations would have been amended, at the behest of the aforementioned big bucks etc etc, to make such nontraditional off-the-cuff contract arrangements completely illegal.

  • Watchman

    On pantyhose/tights (obviously invented between 1800 and 1970 then…) many years ago I worked in a village store near a climbing area. On cold days you’d get big burly climbers coming in to buy tights (fortunately we did not live in a particularly glamourous area, so the shop stocked large sizes…) to add to their climbing gear. Or so they claimed (I have since confirmed with people who I know climb for fun that this is normal practice…).

  • Sonny Wayze

    Needz moar doggz!!!

    And Watchman is correct that pantyhose were the ‘go to’ solution before the modern era of quality, affordable winter undies. I wore black – much more manly…

  • Hedgehog

    “Three cheers for the USA.

    In the EU, the draft regulations would have been amended…”

    This is Buzz Aldrin we’re talking about, and it happened in the 60s. I daresay that nowadays the response by the US regulators would be the same as you claim it would be in Europe.

    One can make a cogent argument that 1969 is the high point of humankind’s capabilities. See Bruce Charlton, and of course the ineffable Mark Steyn:

  • NickM

    bobby b,
    Bang on! Of course the Moon is the last place you want a “wardrobe malfunction”.

  • NickM

    I wouldn’t be so hasty on the EU/USA thing 😉 The Eurofighter was a farce but the F-35 is now so far beyond a joke…

    1. The Skunk Works manager must be delegated practically complete control of his program in all aspects. He should report to a division president or higher.
    2. Strong but small project offices must be provided both by the military and industry.
    3. The number of people having any connection with the project must be restricted in an almost vicious manner. Use a small number of good people (10% to 25% compared to the so-called normal systems).
    4. A very simple drawing and drawing release system with great flexibility for making changes must be provided.
    5. There must be a minimum number of reports required, but important work must be recorded thoroughly.
    6. There must be a monthly cost review covering not only what has been spent and committed but also projected costs to the conclusion of the program.
    7. The contractor must be delegated and must assume more than normal responsibility to get good vendor bids for subcontract on the project. Commercial bid procedures are very often better than military ones.
    8. The inspection system as currently used by the Skunk Works, which has been approved by both the Air Force and Navy, meets the intent of existing military requirements and should be used on new projects. Push more basic inspection responsibility back to subcontractors and vendors. Don’t duplicate so much inspection.
    9. The contractor must be delegated the authority to test his final product in flight. He can and must test it in the initial stages. If he doesn’t, he rapidly loses his competency to design other vehicles.
    10. The specifications applying to the hardware must be agreed to well in advance of contracting. The Skunk Works practice of having a specification section stating clearly which important military specification items will not knowingly be complied with and reasons therefore is highly recommended.
    11. Funding a program must be timely so that the contractor doesn’t have to keep running to the bank to support government projects.
    12. There must be mutual trust between the military project organization and the contractor, the very close cooperation and liaison on a day-to-day basis. This cuts down misunderstanding and correspondence to an absolute minimum.
    13. Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by appropriate security measures.
    14. Because only a few people will be used in engineering and most other areas, ways must be provided to reward good performance by pay not based on the number of personnel supervised.

    Lockheed will never make anything on time, on spec and on budget whilst Kelly Johnson is still dead.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Could have please have the lickers (and any friends or relations of theirs)? They speak to my deeps, and besides I suppose the lickee is already spoken for.

  • Julie near Chicago

    (Oh well, missed the Edit chance. I suppose y’all get the gist: “Could I please have the lickers,” so forth.

  • NickM

    I like “lickers” (ooh err missus!) We could call ourselves “The Lickers”. I mean their are Quakers (harvesting their oats), Shakers and Midtown Bakers and that would be one Hell of a House Par-tay! It would give Kim and Aggie a task! Yes, indeedie…

    For we are the lickers of the World! No time for losers for we are the lickers… of the World!

    I apologise to the spirit of the late Freddy Mercury.

    Not really. I think he would have loved it.

  • Sonny Wayze


    “Could I please have the lickers,”

    Y’all trying to start a non-hippo meme on Samizdata?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sonny: Not so much that, but when it comes to hippi, I hate to come between the licker and the licked. ;>)

    Nick: I’m sure I have no idea of to which you refer about. *sniff* However, that’s a pretty good sentiment you got there in Italics. :>)

  • Vinegar Joe


    Bang on! Of course the Moon is the last place you want a “wardrobe malfunction”.

    It’d bring a whole new meaning to “I was mooned”…….

  • Paul Marks

    Very good photograph.

  • Dr Weevil

    He hardly looks older than when he lived downstairs from me in my grad school apartment building in Charlottesville (some or all of 1987-90). Wonderful guy, and very bright. I assumed he would go far, but never guessed he would get to places that far over my head.